Altig claims Badger Midget opener

Bubba AltigBy Bryan Gapinski, Sun Prairie, Wis., May 30--Bubba Altig won the 30-lap Stark Automotive Group/Mid-State Equipment Badger Midget Series Feature, Monday Night at Angell Park Speedway. The event was delayed 24-hours due to heavy rain on Sunday. It also marked the start of the 75th anniversary season for Badger, the oldest active sanctioning organization in midget auto racing, and the 65th season for Angell Park.
Defending Series Champion Mike Hess led the opening three-laps, before Altig took the lead entering Turn 3. Once in front Altig increased his lead, while attention turned to fast qualifier Michael Pickens. Pickens who started tenth, was sixth by lap three, moved into fifth place two-laps later, and was third on Lap 8.
Altig held a three-car length lead over Hess, and Pickens at the mid-way point. One lap later Scott Hatton stalled on the track bringing out the caution. On the restart Altig continued his pace, while Pickens moved into second place on Lap 18. Altig appeared headed for an easily victory, when he became trapped behind two lapped cars with three laps remaining allowing Pickens to close the margin.
With two-laps remaining third placing running Matt Smith, hit a rut lapping slower cars, causing him to flip, escaping injury, the accident also collected fourth place Hess. On the restart Altig was again flawless and finished 0.88 seconds ahead of Pickens driving the D & I Motorsports owned Spike/Fontana#19. Davey Ray, David Budres, and Kurt Mayhew completed the top five.
Badger will co-sanction with the Lucas Oil-POWRi Midget Series events on June 3 at Fayette County Speedway (Brownstown, Ill.) and June 4 at Peoria (Ill.) Speedway.
Chad Bogar scored a clean-sweep winning the feature and heat race in the first ever events for the Badger 600 Micro's. Trailing Bogar were: Preston Benisch, George Knudson and Braiden Fickas.

---Series sponsor Mid-State Equipment added a $50 bonus to the three heat race winners (Waelti, Smith, Robbie Ray), and an additional $100 to the feature purse.
---Altig's victory will earn him the Terry Vaughn Memorial plaque at the season-ending banquet. The Memorial Day event has been held in Vaughn's honor since 1980. Vaughn was killed in a qualifying accident opening night at the track in 1979. Altig becomes the 17th different driver to win the event.
---Michael Pickens drove the Loyet#05, since his Jack Barry owned Breka/Ford-Esslinger#29 was still in customs, excepted to be released on Wednesday, Pickens will run ten-races in the USA, before heading home after the June 19 Angell Park event.
---Smith who arrived in the States last week will be here until Midget Money Week at the end of July....
---The last time Badger ran on Monday night at Angell Park was in 2005 for the Memorial Day event, the same year Dan Wheldon won the Indianapolis 500.
---The fourth place feature finish was a career best for Budres in a Badger sanctioned event.
---Derick Gough, David's nephew made his first career "National" Midget feature start, but won a heat race last year at Angell Park in IRS competition.
---Hess' eighth place finish broked his eight-race streak of finishing in the top three dating back to June 26, 2010..
---Kevin Olson surprised the crowd by qualifying fourth quick, Olson celebrated his 60th birthday in March.
---Altig's only other career Angell Park feature victory came on June 28, 2008 driving for Mecum Motorsports.
---Florida's Troy DeCaire escaped injury in a wild-flip during qualifying, DeCaire a three-time Tampa Bay Racing Association Sprint Car Champion competed the previous night in the Little 500 at Anderson Speedway.
---Spike Chassis swept the first four positions in the feature, while three different engines placed in the top five Fontana (first, fourth), Ford-Esslinger (second, fifth) and Mopar (third)

1 o5 PICKENS 14.733 1 WAELTI     1 ALTIG
2 2 D.RAY 14.790 2 BERRYHILL     2 PICKENS
3 19 ALTIG 14.913 3 MAYHEW     3 D.RAY
5 13 SMITH 14.998 5 WALTERS     5 MAYHEW
6 5 WALTERS 15.068 HT 2     6 R.RAY
7 3 R.RAY 15.101 1 SMITH     7 WEISENSEL
8 57 ROBINSON 16.161 2 D.RAY     8 HESS
9 41 WAELTI 15.227 3 HATTON     9 OLSON
10 1 HESS 15.257 4 ROBINSON     10 WALTERS
11 15 HATTON 15.270 5 GOUGH     11 DULL
12 21 SHREFFLER 15.309 HT 3       12 SMITH
13 25 ERFURTH 15.352 1 R.RAY     13 JOHNSON
14 6 BUDRES 15.393 2 WEISENSEL     14 ROBINSON
15 21K MAYHEW 15.405 3 HESS      15 HATTON
16 20 WEISENSEL 15.476 4 PICKENS     16 GOUGH
17 56 DULL 15.603 5 OLSON    17 WAELTI
18 19T BERRYHILL 15.700         18 SHREFFLER
19 82 JOHNSON 15.998            
20 31 GOUGH 16.640            
21 57X DECAIRE 16.884